Internet Bubble the Sequel: 1999 All Over Again?
The blogosphere is abuzz with bubble talk and predictions of a spectacular collapse just over the horizon. Is the Internet finally coming home to roost? Or have investors and entrepreneurs thrown caution to the wind and are recklessly ignoring the lessons of 1999?
Structured as a debate, this session will feature top VCs, entrepreneurs, and reporters with strongly opposing points of view on the current climate. We will ensure representation from the current crop of Internet darlings. The panel will begin by presenting data on new VC financings and IPOs – and then let the panel weigh in with their interpretation of the data. The moderator will be sure to provoke fact-based arguments from each panelist and to ensure lots of debate on how to characterize the current market. And we’ll end by forcing each panelist to make a prediction as to what the rest of 2012 will look like.
The organizers will ensure a current panel by inviting recognizable entrepreneurs with recent financings or exits to participate.
Ethan Kurzweil, a vice president in the Menlo Park, Calif. office, joined Bessemer in 2008. He focuses on investments in consumer Internet, mobile and developer platforms.
Ethan has led investments for Bessemer in the consumer/social web (Playdom, Zoosk, Reputation.com, Piazza), developer platforms (Twilio, SendGrid, Crowdflower), advertising technology (adap.tv), and Skybox Imaging. He is also actively involved in Bessemer’s investments in Lifelock, Smule, Truaxis, Delivery Agent, and MashLogic. He currently serves on the board of directors of Piazza, Crowdflower and Sweet Labs.
Prior to joining Bessemer, Ethan worked on new customer acquisition and user retention at Linden Lab, the creator of Second Life. Previously, he held a series of positions at Dow Jones & Co., culminating in leading efforts to identify and launch new business ventures. He also managed the turnaround of the international editions of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones’ acquisition of full ownership in Factiva. While an undergraduate at Stanford, Ethan co-founded S-S-B Technologies (now SSB-Bart Group), a provider of software and services that make the Web accessible to users with disabilities, and served as director of business development.
Ethan earned a BA from Stanford University – where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa – and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School. He serves on the Bay Area advisory board for New Leaders for New Schools, a national non-profit dedicated to ensuring high academic achievement for all students through recruiting and supporting great school leaders. And despite living in California, he is still a life-long Boston Red Sox fan.
Follow Ethan on twitter @ethankurz.
Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer is the founder of AirPR, a company out to solve the problems in the PR industry. He is a former Entrepreneur in Residence at Shasta Ventures focused on consumer internet and the social graph. Prior to joining Shasta, Sharam was a Senior Associate at Sierra Ventures focused on consumer internet, software (cloud computing / virtualization), and mobile. He served as a Board Observer at Makara (sold to RedHat) and TouchCommerce.
Prior to joining Sierra, Sharam was in Mergers and Acquisitions at JP Morgan. Sharam began his career as a technologist at Appian Corporation, a business process management software startup. At Appian, he managed the first enterprise-wide tracking system for the Department of Homeland Security, concurrently managed the development of three software products, delivered training seminars, and authored white papers, best practices documents, and technical notes on Web Services.
Sharam graduated with honors with a BSE in Computer Science from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Born in Syracuse, NY, Sharam played NCAA Division I ice hockey and is fluent in Farsi. He also enjoys barefoot waterskiing and playing with new technologies.